Saw a Takashi Miike picture called The Great Yokai War. "Yokai" is a Japanese term for monsters from folklore, as opposed to the more familiar kaiju. It's a kids' picture, about a young boy from Tokyo sent out to live in the countryside with his older sister and his intermittently senile grandfather. When a vengeful spirit appears, the boy gets caught up in a war between warring groups of yokai and must find his courage to become the "Kirin Rider", the hero who will set everything to rights. It's not a bad picture - nothing deep, but an amusing story. Some of the yokai are really trippy, Japanese folklore can get pretty "out there", apparently.

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That was the first thing I said to my wife (who already knew) when the movie started, but we resolved to ignore that and try to enjoy the movie anyway.

Richard Willis said:

Lucy was an enjoyable movie, but the premise that most people only use 10% of their brain has been discredited:

HALLOWEEN & HALLOWEEN II: I don’t think I mentioned that I re-watched these for the umpteenth time last week, not because of the holiday necessarily, but because I’ve been watching Eli Roth’s History of Horror series. He did two episodes on slasher films, or”splatter” films as I called them then. I used to enjoy them, but when I got married I pretty much stopped watching them cold turkey. I learned of (and had spoiled for me) several 21st century movies I have heard about but never saw and, now, would like to.

FRIDAY THE 13TH and A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET: A couple of years ago around Halloween we recorded a marathon of Friday the 13th movies. They weren’t like I remembered them. Then I realized they had been edited for television. We’ve since acquired them on DVD, but I haven’t been in the mood to re-watch them since. We also have all of the “Freddy” movies on DVD, unwatched.

THE EXORCIST: Yesterday we picked up The Exorcist for seven bucks at Target and we watched it last night. I hadn’t see it since college, but it’s just as I remembered it. Then we saw a commercial for a new “exorcist” film. It looked good to me, but Tracy just said, “Nuh, uh… no way.” I think next I’d like to re-watch The Omen. Sometimes I like re-watching movies I have seen before more than watching new ones.

Oh, I forgot to mention... the one thing about Halloween, as inf;luential and well-remembered as it is now, the thing that sticks with me is that Laurie Stode got ahold the knife... and threw it away... not once but twice in the end scenes.

Not at all, Cap. 

Captain Comics said:

I hope this doesn't lessen me in your eyes, Rob, but I'm just not into music enough for a soundtrack to rescue a movie for me.

Halloween (2018) is superior to previous Halloween sequels, but still has no real reason to exist. I'm hoping against hope the ending is as final as it appears. And I still maintain the original movie and Trick 'r Treat make the perfect double bill for Halloween night, so long as there are no children about.

Coco (2017): Pixar continues to make great movies out of premises no one else would consider.

When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth (1970): Hammer's lesser-known "dinos and cave-people" movie, with the formation of the moon thrown in for good measure, and Victoria Vetri instead of Rachel. They've even restored the nudity for us sensitive North Americans, who apparently couldn't see it back in '70.

Black Sabbath (1963): may have inspired a legendary band's name, but I was disappointed. I'm told the original version is superior to the North American edit, which is what we saw. What is with old horror movies and the American audience?

I really enjoyed Darkest Hour, despite the fact that it plays fast and loose with history in places.You could literally stop the movie at a certain point, play Dunkirk, and then continue with Darkest Hour, and it would work-- but The King's Speech makes a good companion piece as well.

I still have never watched Lucy. Yeah, as someone said somewhere, that 10% claim is false even when Morgan Freeman makes it.

Captain Comics said:


Watched three movies yesterday while my wife was convalescing with an illness:

DARKEST HOUR: Gary Oldman only occasionally looked like Churchill, but he certainly sounded like him. Always love a well-done historical movie, and this was well-done. Helps put The King's Speech into context, too.

LUCY: Nice stunts and FX, and Johansson and Freeman are always watchable. But I honestly forgot about it by today, and my wife had to remind me that we had seen it.

Twenty years ago, in some kind of weird synergy, two different movies came out about an asteroid/comet hitting the Earth. I don't really remember much about the '90s, but whatever I was doing, it wasn't going to movies, because I didn't see either of them. Eventually I did see Armageddon, with Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton, a young Ben Affleck and Liv Tyler. I don't remember much about it, except that I might have thought it faintly silly. Has anyone seen it lately and can refresh my memory?

Now I've seen DEEP IMPACT, completing the set. This one has Morgan Freeman as the president (and a Democratic one, from the sound of it), a role he was born to play (and has, several times). It also has a murderer's row of "Oh, it's THAT guy" (to steal CK's phrase). Leading our cast are Tea Leoni as a TV newsperson, Elijah Wood (Frodo) and Leelee Sobieski (whom I've seen in something but can't remember) as our young love interests, Robert Duvall as a grizzled astronaut (Duvall has to play grizzled roles), Maximillian Schell (as Tea's dad) and Vanessa Redgrave (as Tea's mom) and a young (and not yet fat) Jon Favreau (Happy Hogan in Iron Man). The many perennials include Bruce Weintz (Belker on Hill Street Blues), James Cromwell (Zephram Cochran in Star Trek: First Contact), Richard Schiff (Prof. Hamilton in Man of Steel). Blair Underwood (Andrew Garner on Agents of SHIELD), Denise Crosby (Star Trek: The Next Generation) and some others I couldn't put a name/movie to. Hard to go wrong with a veteran cast.

And they didn't. It's a Spielberg movie, so you know you're going to get two things: A lot of schmaltz, and good special effects. So, yeah, there's a lot of tearful reunions, heroic sacrifice and heartfelt I-love-yous (oh, if only people were as good as they appear in Spielberg movies). And a tidal wave hitting the East Coast is properly spectacular.

There were two errors I found surprising in a Spielberg movie. One is that a crew of astronauts land on a comet, but the comet's tail is pointing in the wrong direction. A comet'st tail doesn't trail out in the opposite direction of the comet's trajectory, as it would in an atmosphere, because there isn't an atmosphere. A comet's tail always points in the opposite direction of the sun, no matter which direction the comet is traveling. That's counter-intuitive to us atmosphere-based animals, so maybe Spielberg just showed us what we expected to see, not what was accurate, just to avoid confusing the audience.

The other is that when the president declares martial law, he pointedly says that there is a curfew in effect when the sun goes down. He goes on to say that misbehavior will be dealt with harshly. Yet, for the rest of the movie, there are numerous scenes of civilian travel at night. In one scene set in Washington D.C., Tea Leoni is sitting on a park bench at night (in the rain, for drama), and her father drives up, trying and failing to get her to go home with him. She then hails a taxi and leaves. Taxis? In a curfew? There are a couple more scenes like that, but hey, why drag logic into it now?

It was a little too long (2 hours, 48 min), but I enjoyed it well enough.

Going from memory, Armageddon was a fairly enjoyable romp where Bruce Willis and the Howling Commandos go into space to stop a huge meteor? asteroid? space rock. It is silly in places and makes NASA look bad as it's their people who fail at the end. 

Also it has the same "Let's-Kill-Off-Half-the-Cast-That-We-Got-To-Like-Because-There-Has-To-Be-Consequences!" that so many movies suffer from!

There has to be heroic sacrifice in disaster movies. I think it's written into Hollywood DNA.

You have buttressed my vague memory of it being a little silly in places. And I remember rolling my eyes when an oil-driller roustabout guy is put in charge of a space mission, and then, of course, putting the guy dating his daughter on the same mission, even though they hate each other, because in bad movies these are apparently the best we can scrape up to go ON THE MOST IMPORTANT MISSION IN HUMAN HISTORY. Hey, here's an idea! Let's find some well-trained military types who don't have personal issues to go instead! No? OK, we'll stick with the guy who likes to play with dynamite and the guy he hates, then.

Captain Comics said:
….and Leelee Sobieski (whom I've seen in something but can't remember)

The year after Deep Impact she starred in the title role in the TV miniseries Joan of Arc, which was a pretty good effort. That’s what I remember her from. As Philip said, Armageddon was like the Howling Commandos. I thought Deep Impact was very well done and made a point of buying its DVD. I’ll never forget the ultimate tidal wave scene in Deep Impact. I own the DVD of Deep Impact, not Armageddon.

We just got back from Bohemian Rhapsody, the biopic about the life of Queen's lead singer, Freddie Mercury.

It's a very conventional rags-to-riches story, with the young Farrokh Bulsara working as a baggage handler at Heathrow Airport. He spends his nights hanging out in clubs, and after one show, he meets his future bandmates, drummer Roger Taylor and guitarist Brian May just after their group's lead singer quit. With bass player John Deacon joining soon after, the quartet goes on to conquer the rock world.

There's a tortured romance between Mercury and the girl he repeatedly calls "the love of my life," Mary -- tortured because he frequently got lonely on the road and found pleasurable company with men. 

As the band goes from one successful album and tour to another, Mercury starts to get a swelled head. He allows a hanger-on in the entourage, Paul, to worm his way into his life, creating a wedge between Paul and the rest of the band, their manager and Mary. Paul's such a dastardly creep, he doesn't even tell Freddie that Live Aid wants Queen to perform!

The movie is plenty enjoyable if you like Queen's music, and it's well cast, with the four actors who play the band members nearly indistinguishable from the real-life guys.There are fun moments, like the whole business of recording "Bohemian Rhapsody," done on a farm in the center of the middle of the locus of nowhere, and then trying to persuade a recalcitrant executive at the record label to make if the first single on A Night at the Opera. (There's a metatexual aspect to that whole conversation I won't spoil.) And it has a triumphant ending, recreating Queen's appearance at Live Aid.

f you don't like Queen's music, well, it's a pretty average movie. 

I'm sure we'll be seeing it, CK -- Kathy is a huge Queen fan, and I like them a lot, too!

Took the opportunity to watch a couple of movies on TCM that I'd heard about but never seen.

THE BANK DICK: For some reason, the Fields persona and expressions were familiar ones when I was young in the '60s. But I'd never seen a Fields performance. So when a Fields movie with a name I recognized came along, I recorded it.

And it's not bad. In fact, I laughed out loud a couple of times. That surprised me, given how old these jokes are, and that I wasn't going to get topical humor at all.

Shemp Howard played a supporting role without shtick, and it made me wonder how long he had pursued a mainstream acting career before giving up and becoming a Stooge. Or maybe there's a different story I don't know.

Also, I don't know why little boys in my neighborhood, including me, would mime a cigar and say "my little chickadee" or repeat other Fields expressions and mannerisms. Of course, we did Groucho too, but he was more recent, given You Bet Your Life. Maybe our parents or people on TV did those impressions, and we picked them up.

LITTLE CAESAR: Just like my Fields comment above, I had never seen an Edgar G. Robinson gangster movie. (I'm sure I've seen him in other things, including Soylent Green.) And I have to say he was born to play a gangster. And now I know what all the Robinson impressions are based on.

I should mention that Douglas Fairbanks Jr. appears as Rico's longtime friend, which surprised me -- I only know him from his heroic roles. And this was the first movie for Glenda Farrell, who would go on to fame as Torchy Blane.

It wasn't that great a movie, though. Robinson's Rico isn't really all that brutal, although he talks tough, so many scenes end sort of milquetoast-y. And this is supposedly based on the Al Capone story, but only superficially. They have the banquet scene, but it's held in the wrong place (Chicago instead of Florida) and Capone Rico doesn't kill anyone with a baseball bat. And Rico gets gunned down, instead of suffering Capone's end, going to prison for taxes, and dying there of syphilis.

Sorry for the spoiler there. But how else could he say the famous line "Mother of mercy ... is this the end of Rico?"

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